Clinging To Wilting Flowers

wilting-flowersA few years ago, I mentioned a book by Wayne Grudem, Politics – According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture. Mind you, I haven’t read the book, but I heard him speak on Family Life Today. As part of his talk, Mr. Grudem “debunked” the idea that some Christian teachers express—namely, that the Christian should not focus on the political arena because the way to change culture is to make disciples.

Both guest and hosts chuckled at this view, apparently because of the reality, that no matter what we do to present Christ, not everyone will accept Him—at least not now. The implication clearly was, This view is not a practical way to impact the culture. Interestingly, Mr. Grudem made no effort to portray this position as unbiblical.

And how could he, for it seems to me to be thoroughly biblical, perhaps the only biblical approach to politics. Yes, we should vote. Yes, we should be informed. Yes, some Christians will be called by God to serve Him and others by holding elected office, which necessitates involvement in politics beyond the “make disciples” level. But what about the rest of us? Should we be manning the picket lines, attending the rallies, writing our congressmen?

I don’t think any of that is wrong, but we believers need to be sure we aren’t clinging to wilting flowers. What do I mean?

James 1:11 says

For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.

And Isaiah 40:7 says

The grass withers, the flower fades,
When the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.

Then there’s Psalm 103:15-16.

As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,
And its place acknowledges it no longer.

Life here on earth is as wilting flowers. Later James says our lives are like fog. So why would we put an over emphasis on holding on to that which is so temporary?

Paul spells it out in Philippians. In talking about false teachers, he says in 3:19-20

whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven from which also we eagerly wait for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Emphasis mine)

So I wonder if too many of us Christians don’t have our citizenship status mixed up. I wonder how many of us are actually eagerly waiting for Jesus.

I first got a glimpse of what citizenship in heaven would look like in comparison to citizenship on earth when I read C. S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce. Here’s a sample.

I got out. The light and coolness that drenched me were like those of summer morning, early morning a minute or two before the sunrise, only that there was a certain difference. I had the sense of being in a larger space, perhaps even a larger sort of space, than I had ever known before: as if the sky were further off and the extent of the green plain wider than they could be on this little ball of earth. I had got “out” in some sense which made the Solar System itself seem an indoor affair …

At first, of course, my attention was caught by my fellow passengers, who were still grouped about in the neighbourhood of the omnibus, though beginning some of them, to walk forward into the landscape with hesitating steps. I gasped when I saw them. Now that they were in the light, they were transparent—fully transparent when they stood between me and it, smudgy and imperfectly opaque when they stood in the shadow of some tree. They were, in fact, ghosts … I noticed that the grass did not bend under their feet: even the dew drops were not disturbed.

Then some re-adjustment of the mind or some focusing of my eyes took place, and I saw the whole phenomenon the other way round. The men were as they always had been as all the men I had known had been perhaps. It was the light, the grass, the trees that were different; made of some different substance so much solider than things in our country that men were ghosts by comparison. Moved by a sudden thought, I bent down and tried to pluck a daisy which was growing at my feet. The stalk wouldn’t break. I tried to twist it, but it wouldn’t twist. I tugged till the sweat stood out on my forehead and I had lost most of the skin off my hands. The little flower was hard, not like wood or even like iron, but like diamond.

No wilting flower, that. So why would I cling to the passing-away kind?

This post is an edited version of one that first appeared here in November 2010.

Fantasy Friday – Introducing Brock D. Eastman

As a child Brock D. Eastman, author of Taken, the first in a five-book middle grade science fantasy series, Quest for Truth, wanted to become a paleontologist. His toys and books related to dinosaurs, and undoubtedly he knew the difference between a stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus. Dinosaurs filled his room and his imagination.

While such an interest may not be typical among writers, picturing the world populated by creatures we know today only by their bones might explain why Brock gravitated toward speculative literature.

However, “gravitating toward literature” might be a stretch. Brock didn’t do much reading until college, and then the books that awoke his interest were J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. At that point he realized he’d been missing out. Since then he’s become a voracious reader. His favorites include Lord of the Rings, the Eragon trilogy (Inheritance Cycle) by Christopher Paolini, Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment, and Narnia.

Though Brock didn’t initially pursue writing as a career, he nevertheless became involved with making and making available stories. His day job is with Focus on the Family where he is the Product Marketing Manager working with the long-running children’s series Adventures in Odyssey.

He’s also had the opportunity to play several cameo roles in various episodes, and he wrote The Imagination Station series’ Book 5, Showdown with the Shepherd.

His own fiction was not something he intended for the public, however. Exploring the possibility of writing a story that “dealt with life and death and what that really means,” he wrote the first two books of the Quest for Truth series as one volume, primarily for family and friends and as a result of a conversation with a co-worker.

We got to talking about how death is portrayed so lightly these days on television and in other media, so I set out to write a book where no one would die, or if someone did, it would not be taken lightly. As a Christian, I recognize that death should not be glossed over. [from “Brock Eastman: Futuristic Animation” by Katie Hart]

Family is important to Brock. At 27 he is married to Ashley, the girl with whom he read those Harry Potter books back in college, and he is the father of two daughters. They live happily in Colorado where Brock can enjoy the outdoors and quality time with his family.

At the urging of those who read his work, Brock decided to explore publication. Ultimately he secured a five book contract with P&R Publishing. Taken, a kind of Indiana Jones meets City of Ember story, is the culmination of six years of work.

In this volume, set in the future, Mr. and Mrs. Wikk, archeologist-explorers, are taken captive by a secret society. Their four children embark on a quest into space to find their parents, but they discover that the world is not what they once thought. If they hope to rescue their parents, they must take up their quest for truth, starting with the forbidden planet on the edge of the galaxy and the mysterious blue people who inhabit it.

While the series is written for younger readers, Brock hopes teens and parents will enjoy the story as well.

You can learn more about Brock at his web site. You can also find him on Facebook.